FWP picked for Carlisle United FC’s new ground

Specialist stadium architects the Frank Whittle Partnership are masterminding Carlisle United's bid to build a new 12,000 all-seater ground.

The club has announced that Kingmoor Park is its preferred option following a major feasibility study by Preston-based FWP, which has worked with Preston North End and Doncaster racecourse in the past.

The proposed development will include a training centre for the club, currently in the third tier of English football. Carlisle United originally brought in FWP to look at the possibility of redeveloping its current home at Brunton Park, which is 102 years' old. But its team of experts reported that the minimum cost to the club would be around £18.2m.

FWP then went on to investigate other options for the Blues and looked at 17 potential sites. They were whittled down to a shortlist of four with Kingmoor Park selected as the preferred option after consultations with Carlisle City Council. Its study concluded that discussions be progressed with Kingmoor Properties regarding a relocation to Kingmoor Park, which is in the north of the city.

The new complex would incorporate indoor and outdoor training facilities for club and community use, and there are plans for the stadium to incorporate a theatre and performance venue at one end with a 3,000 to 4,000 capacity. Conference and banqueting facilities would become a revenue generator.

The club's present Brunton Park ground on Warwick Road is seen as suitable for re-use as residential development land.

David Robinson, FWP's managing partner, said: "Our experience shows that modern stadiums have to be more than just a place to hold a sporting event once a fortnight they have to be real and vibrant part of the community.

"The stadium not only has to be a great place to watch football, but it has to work for the club."

John Nixon, Carlisle United's managing director, said: "Considering all the options carefully, we feel the only viable route would be a new stadium which could be built for the same costs as redeveloping Brunton Park, or less.

"Most importantly this route would not burden the club with any significant debt and would, in our view, provide the foundations for long-term progress and the possibility of Premiership football.

"Kingmoor Park offers the best chance of achieving his because we have willing development partners, subject to planning permission being obtained, with space for significant enabling development."

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